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The qualities of a successful teacher
Teacher : An introduction
A teacher is someone who, according to the Hindu traditions, is above god. So one needs to keep in mind the responsibility he bears as a result of this profession. Such high status is given to teacher because it is teacher who makes the career and the life of the student and in a way affects the destiny of the child.
Wait ! you don`t have to be very serious about the above paragraph. In fact, teaching is a fun. You just have to possess some basic traits and you will find that you are doing your job wonderfully. As I move forth I will just dedicate few paragraphs to the prerequisites that are compulsory if you want to enjoy this profession.
That first thing that matters is the powerful communication. You have to be very effective communicator. You would have for sure heard this that a good teacher is one who gives his student most of what he has.
The second thing that you must consider is the fact that teaching means study. If you hate study then I assure there are many other good things that you can mess with! i.e. teaching is not for you. You really need to study before you go in the class to teach students.
Although teaching requires many aspects the above two are the basic traits that one should have. Rest can be easily inculcated. Okay now please don`t sue me for the preceding sentence! It is possible to inculcate the above two traits also but that would require commitment and dedication.
So after the disclaimers are made I, now, move to describe attributes of a teacher which lead to earn him name, fame , money and most important thing- love of his students.
A teacher was also a student
You might be little dazed! Of course! Every body knows it. What is the use of affirming this universal fact here ? I will tell you friends there is a need.
A small thing that I should mention is the fact that in the forthcoming paragraphs I have always referred to male sex as a teacher. If you are female reader please don`t consider me to be a chauvinist! I have just done in the way because it comforted me since I am too a male.
The first thing that a teacher should always keep in mind is that fact that some years or decades(depending upon his age) he was also a student. What were the things that he longed in his teacher and what were the things or the qualities of the teacher irritated him ?
There are various type of students. Some are dull, others being smart, some are intelligent but shy. So it`s first the responsibility of the teacher to respect the positive traits that his students have got. He should be able to sharply differentiate between what is mischief and what is indiscipline. I again emphasize on the fact that not all the mischief is indiscipline so a teacher must ready to forgo the mischief but not the indiscipline.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Teacher must be well versed in subject
See what is the duty of the teacher ? The duty of the teacher is simply to make things easy for students.Richard Feynman once said that if one does not knows how to explain a particular topic to freshmen year students it is just because he has not understood the topic well. A student knows very little when he starts the course. So of course! a teacher would encounter some difficulties in conveying the students what he wants. But this problem can be easily tackled if he himself is well versed with the subject. Here are some methods that I have outlined that will help a teacher.
- A teacher should have good knowledge of the subject. Okay even if he don`t have much that`s fine but he should have the overview of subject he is going to teach. Also if he faces some difficulty in teaching efficiently he should daily study the topic extensively before imparting it to the students.
- The teacher should know the application of the topic he is teaching to his students. If he does not know or if the application seems out of the purview of students he should tell students that, "this is the a,b,c and as alphabets were introduced to you (students) before sentences in the same way these are introduced to you for the future applications" . In fact it is best to describe the applications of the subject that you are going to teach in advance so that student may find it relevant to study the subject with zeal.
While dealing with complex topics it is possible that students might feel themselves in a substantial pressure to understand the topic. And here it is where it goes all wrong. In pressure they won`t understand anything but get more and more confused. A typical remedy is that you crack a joke which brings laughter on the faces of the students and they get easy again and hence you can commence again.
There is no fixed rule that only a joke will work! A typical fable dealing with normal life can also be conveyed to them so that they again get interested in class again. There are many advantages for a teacher if he knows some jokes related to the subject. This brings students bit closer to him since after that they will also feel free to splurge, what they feel about the subject, in front of the teacher.
Best teachers of the world
Who is the best teacher among the following ?
Hard work is key to success
Well almost everyone has learned about the above maxim. But very few are persons who dare to transform themselves with accordance to the given maxim. Okay ! I should remind you one thing here . This proverb is not only for the teacher but also for the students. Make them work hard at home though they may first oppose it (Law of inertia) at first but soon when they will find the subject interesting due to your effort they will continue their endeavor and hence finish their subject with the excellence.
You can give them particular assignments which help them to understand the subject more clearly. You may also assign them some tasks which are related to the practical approach and they will really enjoy following your directions.
Once teaching a student Electrical physics I asked him to find out the cost that he pays for unit of electricity. Though it was not a core assignment but it did helped him to understand reson behind studying his subject!
Richard P Feynman
Handling some Special Students
There is no special or very rigorous definition of the term 'special'. But the ones whom a teacher thinks need a special attention can be labeled under this category. They are to be dealt separately in a way that neither they feel inferior nor they feel privileged.Although every student in this world is unique but still there are characters which are common among the students. Below I have just described about few types of student and method to deal with them.
- There are shy students. These sort of student may either be intelligent or not. But it is the responsibility of the student to make them speak in the class. They must be asked questions and some time(spare time) they must be summoned in front of the class to describe the subject if they are intelligent or they may be called for some extra curricular activities if they are dull in studies.
- The mischievous but intelligent student be given respect but it is the duty of the teacher to divert their mischief to hard work. It can be done by honoring him first and then giving him tough challenge.
- The ones who are undisciplined must be dealt sternly though within a limit. They are the ones who can erupt disturbance in the class and they should constantly be monitored and given responsibility.
Students are free to disagree with teacher
Well the 'disagree' term may seem some what alarming and harsh at first but believe me it is key to success. When the students disagree certain benefits a teacher gets which are outlined as follows :-
- The disagreement led by the student may be because of some mistake that teacher made unknowingly. Now, that can be corrected and hence the student learns right thing which is of course a reward for the teacher. The second benefit that result from it is the fact that student trust teacher and thinks that "whatever he teaches me he teaches me right".
- The second thing is that the students get more frank and hence instead of complaining to manager for some of your fault they will directly say it to you and hence you will be able to solve it inside the class and hence prevent your image from being getting it maligned.
- In many of the US universities I have noted that teachers are completely democratic in their class and while attending one of the lectures on the youtube from Yale University I found that the teacher was excellent in his academia as well as democratic attitude. The democratic attitude often confirms the fact that teacher has excellent qualities as well as other excellent teaching traits.
Honesty is the Best policy
well friends I have found out in my practical life that world moves on logic and rationale. And I assure you that logic and rationale have their firm base on moral values. You have to be very honest with your students. Tell them what you are and what you are not. If they expect so much from you that is beyond your capacities it`s the duty of yours( a teacher) to correct their this attitude.
I have found out that some students expect their teacher to be professor from IIT`s but they don`t even want to be students from UPTU. What the preceding sentence means is that students expect too much from the teachers but they did not want to work hard as per the standard expected by them. So if the teachers imparts them good and high quality service it`s also the duty of students to be compatible with the teacher efforts. It is the duty of the teacher to tell the above facts so that they(students) can make a clear conception about what what are the duties of teacher and what are the duties of students.
Now you would complaint what the previous paragraph had to do with honesty. Please do not mind as you read this paragraph it will be apparent to you.There are topics which a teacher does not understands ,or at the moment he is teaching he makes a mistake. Now after he has realized his mistake he should never refrain from apologizing students and instead he must immediately clarify his mistakes.This is the honesty I am talking about.
There may come an instance when some student asks you something you are not aware of ! So you say to the student that okay you don`t know about this but you will tell tomorrow. Though some mischievous students may laugh at this but soon they will realize that you are right in your efforts and they were wrong. The more understanding you develop with your students, more honest you become, and more they like you and cooperate with you, more you get satisfied and rich(If you are a commercial teacher like me.)
Last but not the least, please do not consider teaching as business. It is best if you consider it your duty and the payments by students as reward and more you respect your profession, more successful you become.
Electromagnetics By Prof. R.K. Shevgaonkar
The qualities of excellent teacher
There are many points that one needs to describe the qualities of a successful teacher. See an excellent teacher is one who is able to develop his students` curiosity to passion and their negligent attitude to a conscientious one. There are many more qualities that I have found out through great youtube while listening the lectures of Professors from IITs and other US universities.
- Prof. R. k. Shevgaonkar , Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Bombay has many of the qualities that can be found out in an Excellent teacher. I am having a video course on Electromagnetics under C-DEEP, IIT Bombay. The best thing that I found in him is the way he broached the Electromagnetics so that it never for a single time occurred to me that I am not able to understand a particular topic. This organization of the subject was so good that I almost fell in love with this wonderful subject which ere seemed mysterious and intricate. The second thing that he in his first lecture detailed me the various applications of the subject so that I always found my subject relevant.
- Prof. I Sengupta, Computer Science and Engineering Department, IIT Kharagpur, made me learn various qualities that an excellent teacher should have. The qualities of him considered as par with excellence are his deep understanding of the subject. His vast Industrial experience helped student to get more near to the practical world while remaining in the classroom.
A note that I would like to append here is the fact the above are the qualities which are as a results of decades of experience. It is advised for a naive teacher to not get frustrated if he does not have the qualities listed above. Instead he can make his aim to have those qualities in future if he wants to be a dedicated teacher.
The interview of Richard P Feynman
Books by world`s best teachers
Below this paragraph I have just outlined some books that are written by the Best teachers of all time. Yeah, they have written other books too but the one I have given below the details are the most popular ones.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
This book well describes Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan`s message to seriously consider Indian Philosophy.
Richard P Feynman
This is the link which gives you the book written by Richard P feynman which describes some light-hearted and some serious work which he did while involved in Manhattan project.
Jayant Vishnu Narlikar
This book deals beautifully with the basic mathematics and is Authored by Jayant V Narlikar himself. As the book`s name suggests it is really learning mathematics through pure fun.
A word of caution
Though in my each I have stressed that teacher should be benign but this does not mean that teacher should completely cease censuring the faults of his students. A stern attitude may demoralize the students but an over solemness can too spoil them.
I have seen that students use to take me, due to my democratic nature, very lightly and hence they started neglecting their studies and completely misinterpreting my attitude. I then took measures and rebuked them sharply for their conspicuous mistakes and checked and cross checked them, while I lectured in class, in their studies.
Yes it happened that I was not able to see their dim faces, which were the result of sudden sternness in my attitude, which ere had always been kind and affectionate towards them.
But gradually I decreased the intensity of my strict behaviour and attained such an attitude which was the exact blend of kind and strict at the same time. I was humorist and serious according to the situations and hence I was able to reach a saturation point where I could teach my student effectively and they cooperated with me in their studies as well as in other matters of the class.
Jayant Vishnu Narlikar
I have just outlined some of the facts that I have found out in my teaching career. I don`t claim it to be a research thesis but I have learnt that love for the students and your passion to give them best alone is enough to make them understand that you are the best. Despite of the fact that I have taken care in ensuring I do not miss something essential yet it is possible ('To err is human') that some thing might have missed from my cerebral matter. I would be happy to append the suggestion of my readers.
Have a nice career.